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Co-Captain Armada.Digital

Portuguese expat living in Brussels since 2003, I'm interested in the intersection of technology, politics, participatory democracy, grassroots movements and human rights.
| I'm passionate about Curious about and the future of work by enabling .

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes


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Ricardo Mendes

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Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

We are not in tech anymore

Interesting read.. 

Maybe this is the most difficult task to entail and I wonder if we have the knowhow, the skills, the tools to do it : if code is law, how do we get shared code governance ?

How do we, as societies, handle feature request, bugs and specific needs from vulnerable communities in a inclusive manner ? 


Why does it matter? 

We live in a world that by default carry structural biases and the later become transcoded into real life  they become part of the fabric  even of the alternatives we want to have. Code carry bias, all the time, the same way anyone writing about any issue will also carry its own bias . 

Realizing this and applying this thinking to shared code governance projects is a challenge because we live in a individualistic society where privileged people don't even know they are privileged over others . 

The tools we use to collaborate do not take into consideration inclusivity, even the contributions someone will make will by default have less importance than a real hard on pull request piece of code . 

But it shouldn't be this way.. It is this way because most of the code ever produced was produced by mostly white privileged people that don't even need to think about being misrepresented. It's not in their DNA. It's not part of their natural thinking flow because most never needed to even be bothered by not being  Represented . No need if you run the project . 


This is political  very political . 


In some way it is related to how also in the democratic system huge swats of population are not being represented and how the system is built this way .. 


How do we change this ? 

Ricardo Mendes

So what do you prefer? A non profit that get some structural subsidies (without any obligations) from compagnies that Allow said non-profit to implement open-source solutions for civil society, NGO's and what not or you prefer to advocate for a non profit, very pure, very perfect, without money or funds to implement anything at all, a non profit unable to do its mission but very pure?

That's your MVP it seems and I don't think it's sustainable neither realistic, the freaking world is what it is, how are we going to change it?

By screaming at the impurity of others and their minimal lack of integrity, even if that sends them to being unable to operate? (but stay pure) is this how we're going to win this battle? By finding all the impurities out there, all the hybrid choices, all the in-between's and shot them in the head for being impure?

And then what? What's next? What's the end goal here? What's the purpose? What is being built if anything at all?

I'd rather get funds from companies and divest this money from big corporations and invest it in civil-society working for the greater good with autonomy, empowerment through digitalisation and ethical business than decimating the ecosystem for it being un-pure and not 100% in line with your one and holy thinking.

In short this issue, is precisely why the global Left is unable to win any battles since 20 years.. We're dogmatic, purists, cultists about our own certainties, to the point we turn against those acting for the greater good for the sake of their "impurity", dismissing their work, their past, their history for their un-pure present choices..

How far do you want to go? Alone or together?

How do we educate the masses to reach a similar understanding about the multi faceted problems we're having because of the choices made in the recent past?
How do share this understanding so that, as a collective of people, we can in respect of everyone's thinking and opinions move collectively to a safer place as societies?

I don't think it is by hitting at those trying their way out to move forward. And let me be clear here, I read you since many years, I follow you on different networks, I was inspired by you joining Diem and your tweets and blog post helped shape the choices I have made at a personal level for so many things regarding technology but now it's 2019, the world is a constant war, isn't there another path than confrontation & wars to move forward? isn't there a chance that in the last 10 years of ranting there was other ways to reach concrete goals and win actual battles by working from the inside at reaching the goals instead of ranting tilting at windmills ?

I don't speak about this often because in this space it's like you often need to be perfect 100% to have the legitimacy to speak up or earn a reputation in some other way that I don't have/want to have.

But I feel concerned and I work in a place that wants to do good (but is funded by the Brussels region, some compagnies that I wish were different, yes indeed) what should I do?

Abandon my work where I can help women and minorities to claim their ownership, their data, their infrastructure because the non-profit I work for is partially getting subsidies from companies that could be criticized or that seem in opposition with our non profit mission?

Is that the Left proposal? Become so pure that you loose everything but revered by your peers for having sacrificed everything for the sake of 100% integrity ? sounds like a cult to me.

I'd rather work for a non-profit determined to work under the hood and shape the infrastructure of tomorrow's internet landscape even if the money comes from compagnies (well obviously not Total, Shell or Facebook) but the same logic can be applied if your way of reasoning was to be applied to different sponsors or subsidies, there is always something to say, each person will have it's own red line on what is ethical or not, What would you do if your life income would depend on that? Does anyone need to become as radical in their personal lives, cut themselves from any hybrid situation, so that they can have a say in this debate ? again, sounds like a cult to me.

Also let's think about why you can make the choices you can afford? What privileges allow you to make them?

What are you going to tell to a women trying to launch her business (her main living source) by using whatever "free tools" she can get to advance her goals, because she doesn't know or doesn't have the know-how to make the same choice but staying fully autonomous and free from the big companies?

What are you going to tell her?

That her approach is wrong, capitalist surveillance based, lack of integrity etc... or are you going to try to grasp the moment where you will be able to help her reach the same goals but with open source tools, with an infrastructure she owns and control and that will be the base to run her business and will power her own empowerment ?

Between the two I'll gladly help instead of rant, we need builders, not ranters.

Ricardo Mendes

Ricardo Mendes

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